Eckartshausen

P. Ph. Wolf: An Historical Account of the Order of the Illuminati in Bavaria

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | Contemporary sources | 3 Comments

Introduction

(Thanks to Joe Wäges for translating some of the biographical material on Wolf.)

Translated from German to English and printed in the short-lived periodical German museum (v.1: London, 1800, pp. 207-218, 296-305, 390-396), the following essay on the Bavarian Illuminati is a contemporary, apologetic account. It was written by Peter Philipp Wolf (1761-1808) and included in volume four of his history of the Jesuits: Allgemeine Geschichte der Jesuiten (1789-92).

Born in Pfaffenhofen, Bavaria, Wolf received his primary education in the Jesuit schools of Munich. His free spirit couldn’t endure theocentric pedantry for long, however, and he soon ran away. Penniless, after a brief stay in Strasbourg he had no choice but to return home. His parents wanted him to become a priest so they sent him to a boarding school in Weihenstephan; but after a short while, Wolf again escaped the clutches of the ecclesiastics. Later, in letter to his friend Lorenz von Westenrieder (1748-1829) (who was briefly a member of the Illuminati in 1779), he wrote: “I can confirm it by my own example how little education is good in the seminaries….rude manners, ascetic pride, monkish hypocrisy, [and] youthful conceit are the rocks on which can fail even the most promising young men.”

Wolf then apprenticed with the Munich bookseller and printer Johann Baptist Strobl [or Strobel] (1748-1805), but they didn’t get along. (Strobl was also briefly an Illuminatus prospectus; afterwards an opponent of the Order, and the government-sanctioned publisher of the famous Einige Originalschriften des Illuminatenordens.) The relationship deteriorated to the point that Strobl accused Wolf of printing a libellous pamphlet against him. He pled his case before the authorities, and Wolf had to spend a year in jail.

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